The Micronauts were first.
Star Wars had, under Kenner, produced the most disappointing action figures imaginable - "oh look, Luke Skywalker can goosestep, daddy!" - and that's because Mego missed a HUGE opportunity, which they hurried to make up by unleashing some little known toys from Japan on us pre-teens: the MICRONAUTS!
To say they were a success would be a huge understatement. Every week I got a $5 allowance for mowing the lawn and doing my chores and every week I bought a Micronaut. In four years, I had about 85% of them, foregoing the less atractive models. Oh, there was nothing cooler than the interchangeable world of the Micronauts -except possibly the comic featuring them!
When it came out, I bought it without question. It also goes down as probably one of the few comics that had better internal art than on the front cover.
Illustrated by the awesome "Todd McFarlane before Todd McFarlane" Michael Golden, these toys were instantly transformed into inner-spatial heroes - beings so small they lived on molecular chains as if they were planets - who were fighting a rebellion against Baron Karza, chief scientist of Homeworld, who had discovered a way to offer immortality - for a terrible price.
By using body banks, Karza could replace aging body parts year after year. It was expensive, so the rich lived the longest. If you were poor, you could sell your body parts and use mechanical versions instead. Eagerly, the populace overthrew and killed the royal family and made Baron Karza their Lord and Savior.
Karza himself was pure energy - a non-corporeal being held together by his black armor. Commander Arcturus Rann - our stalwart hero had been a pupil of his, but he had left on an immense journey of a thousand years across the Microverse to proclaim peace to all the inhabited worlds. To accomplish this arduous task, he was placed in suspended animation and his ship, the HMS Endeavor was run by Biotron his robotic companion. When he returns centuries later to Homeworld, he discovers his mentor Karza is still alive - and what he has done - but only after he is stunned unconscious and imprisoned with the rebels in the gladiator pits of Homeworld.
It wouldn't do for the son of the man you murdered come back after a thousand years and upset your rule, would it? To lead a rebellion? Of course not.
That was issue one, folks, and I haven't covered half of it. Part Flash Gordon, part Star Trek, part Star Wars, part Heavy Metal, I still think Bill Mantlo's first issue of The Micronauts ranks as one of the best single comics ever.
This epic storyline has so many hidden topics - from a hero returning to a fallen world to the seduction of carnal immortality, I'm going to have to cover the Micronauts and how they impacted my life in several parts this week, so please be patient with me.
But as you know, I can't let this go without making a reference to Jesus.
When Arcturus Rann returns, on the splash page of issue one, he is greated by an honor guard - who then turns on him and shoots him down.
That's just like Jesus. He shows up and you would think the hometown would welcome him. Not so, my friend.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'"
"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed —only Naaman the Syrian."
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
When you come home and find yourself willing and able to help others by pure faith in the power of the risen Christ, do not be surprised if they get offended. I mean, who do YOU think YOU are?
You see, folks, we get sort of sanctimonious in our fallen world - we think there is merit in powerlessness. We are perfectly glad to stay in drudgery and daily life, never admitting that God wants you to be more: we are taught only how we must be good - but not how we can be healed, holy and joyful. Powerful. "I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest!" Jesus said that.
We get so much "wisdom" from our moral leaders, we forget that God would change our lives in an instant - if we would let Him. If we would trust Him. But nope, we think we have the right to judge God's methods. Jesus was "uppity" in their estimation (these are good church folks, BTW), saying that THEY had the problem of not believing God, of not permitting His power to flow into their lives.
You see, we want to have control - and if we can't fix it, nobody can.
Rann shows back up on Homeworld, as immortal by his travels as Karza is - only he did it by traveling to the stars and resting in hibernation. He has all his body and Karza is but a shell. But whom do the people of Homeworld support? The man back from the heavens? Oh no. They have their status quo and it must not be shaken. So Rann must escape and aid the rebels to overthrow Karza's rule.
Sometimes we get so used to a non-miraculous world, we are afraid of what we'd have to accept if we found it was OUR fault miracles did not occur. Like Neo in The Matrix, we have to wake up to our complicity. We have to trust Jesus more than we are "comfortable" with.
Do you want to see this in action? Ask yourself how do you feel when you hear of a miraculous healing. If your first response is, that was a fake - or do you believe that - or it was just for a TV show - I assure you that you will not see one. Even if they are real.
If your first response is "Praise God! Tell me all about it!" you are fine candidate for your own miracle.
Just think about it. How do you respond when a Savior shows up who is marveling at YOUR unbelief - in church?!
And remember how little time Jesus spent trying to convince the home crowd He was EXACTLY the Savior they needed, even if He wasn't the one they wanted.